‘Women Behind the Scene’ panel:  Melanie Fiona, Cry$tyles Johnson and Andrea Martin (Photo: Eunice Moseley)

*Covering the 6th annual ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo was like being a fly on the wall during the songwriting process for some of the best in the business.

The expo attracted the elite in the business of songwriting to come listen to the “masters” talk about their process and experiences. The ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo was held for three days in Los Angeles and offered vendors with every conceivable piece of songwriting/producing equipment and a list of panels with the greatest songwriters and producer in the business today.

“I had an interest in making beats and wondered how it’s done,” said producer Boi-1da during the “Deconstruction of Drake” panel discussion. “I spent $100 on a beat making program.”

Today Boi-1da’s beat making skills earned him credits that include projects for Eminem, The Diplomats, G-Unit and of course on Drake’s “Best I Ever Had,” “Forever” and ‘Over.” Along with Boi-1da (Matthew Samuels) was producer 40. Born Noah Shebib, 40’s beat making credits include Nelly Furtado, Alicia Keys, Lil’ Wayne, Trey Songs, Jamie Foxx, Sade’, Jay-Z and on Drake’s “Fall For Your Type” and “Thank Me Later.”

ASCAP’s ‘I Create Music” Expo also had panels that include songwriters Kelly Price, Andrea Martin, Melanie Fiona and Cry$tyle Johnson on the “Women Behind the Scene” panel; Fergie was on the “We Create Music” panel; No I.D., Needlz, Keith Harris and Drumma Boy was on the “Producing Hits in Pop and R&B” panel; the “Master Session” with Pharrell and Jon Platt, and another “Master’s Session” with Jermaine Dupri and Johnta Austin.

“We can’t make records like that,” Jermaine Dupri said on his panel when discussing how he receives request to duplicate hit songs he wrote previously.

“I can’t steal nobody’s style,” JD pointed out too, concerning writing songs like someone else’s hit.

Vendors include publications that target the songwriter; digital distributers of music companies; labels looking for songwriters and producers; songwriting hardware and software manufacturers and distributers; recording studios; sound engineering equipment manufacturers and dealers; instruments of almost every kind; manufacturers and sellers of tour buses, and so very much more.

ASCAP is the leading performance rights organization in the United States, representing over 8.5 million copyrighted works for more than 400,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. For more information on ASCAP or the many events it hosts for its members log onto www.ASCAP.com.

Patrick Bradley makes his keyboard sing on new album, ‘Under The Sun’

If its one thing I love it’s when a musician can make their instrument “sing.” Jazz Fusion keyboardist Patrick Bradley does just that on his sophomore project titled “Under The Sun.” Joining Bradley on the album are Dave Koz  and Eric Marienthal on sax; Rick Braun on trumpet and flugelhorn; Dwight Sills and Michael Thompson on guitar; Alex Al and Nate Phillips on bass; Tony Moore and Dave Weekl on drums, Irene B. with vocal support.

“I actually started really young at 8 years-old,” Patrick Bradley said about his early beginnings as a keyboardist. “I started on my own. My friend had a keyboard and I was drawn to it so my parents brought me one for Christmas. I was self taught until college.”

“Under The Sun” was spiritually inspired from the death of Patrick’s mother. That inspiration is probably why I hear his keyboards literally crying on one of my favorite cuts on the CD, “Tears From The Sky.” Other songs I find myself playing over and over again include “Slipstream,” because of the excellent horn support, “Into The Sunset,” and “A Message,” which is a hot funky number.

Also a Southern California regional manager of a major food store chain, Bradley gives this advice to up-and-coming musicians, “Don’t ever give up. I’ve never given up…learn to read music…and find someone to mentor and train you.”

For more information on Jazz keyboardist Patrick Bradley’s latest CD “Under The Sun” log into www.PatrickBradley.net.

Minnesota actor Steve Wash, Jr. lands role in ‘Tyler Perry’s Big Happy Family’

‘I was actually at my family reunion when they called,” Native Minnesotan actor Steve Wash, Jr. said when asked how he heard the good news about landing a role in Tyler Perry’s newest film Big Happy Family. “I had a table read…straight to table read. I saw Bow Wow and Tyler Perry. This lady said I did fantastic job. Then they flew me out to Atlanta.”

Sounds easy, but this young actor has been in the business since the age of five. It was at five years-old that the producer of The Wayne Brady Show saw him and his parents in line in Los Angeles waiting to be in the audience. The producer was so taken by all the personality in the five year old, that not only did they get the front row but Steve walked away with a correspondence job for The Wayne Brady Show – at the tender age of five. That job lasted for two years. During that time he was signed with the William Morris agency and appeared on such shows as “The Parkers.”

To date Wash, Jr. has appeared on “Scrubs” and in the movie Gridiron. He also will star in the new AT&T national commercial. Steve, whose family relocated to Los Angeles back with he was five, is also a rapper known as Lil’ Stevie. In fact, he pointed out that his four sisters and brother are also musical talented as well.

“I get my inspiration from my (eldest) sister,” Steve Wash, Jr. said when he mentioned that his siblings can all either rap, sing or write songs.

“Be the entertainer 24/7,” Steve said when asked about giving advice to other young actors. “Stay the entertainer.”

For more on actor Steve Wash, Jr. log onto his website at www.SteveWash.com.